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How to Upgrade and Expand your Skills for Work

It is said that at least 85 million people will have been displaced by 2025 because of the impending industrialisation revolution. Most employees are simply not equipped for what is looming ahead of us, now that automation has become part of our daily lives. We are finding out that the skills we used to have are outdated and do not qualify for jobs of the future.

With that being said, it is necessary now more than ever, to upgrade our current skills and acquire new ones to help you stay abreast of the job market.

Here are some tips to help you to gain a competitive edge.

  1. Professional Development training can range from a few hours to a few days. They can be industry-specific or emphasise your other skills like communication, leadership, or teamwork. For example, if you are interested in a leadership position, you can look at taking on a Project Management course. This will allow you to develop various types of skills and qualify you for better roles and remuneration. You might receive a certification or acknowledgement of participation at the end of the course which you should certainly market to current and future employers.
  2. There are tons of free information and educational resources online. Use this to your advantage by attending webinars, following industry experts on social media, or checking out the website of the industry of your choice. Google Alert is a great way to stay up to date on current trends and if you are planning to switch industries, gain advice and vital information from sites that offer advice before you make the jump!
  3. Professional events are organised mainly to keep you in the loop on industry growth and trends. It is a helpful way to network and share ideas with other like-minded individuals and industry leaders. There are many ways to participate in professional events such as forums, seminars, or workshops. You will definitely leave having learnt more about your specific industry.
  4. Online networking is just as important as attending professional events. The key is to build up your network by connecting with various industry leaders and personnel. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to do just that. Remember to keep in touch and boost your credibility by blogging. You never know if it will catch the eye of your potential employer.
  5. A good way to invest in your future job security is to get certified or take on a continuing education program. Although this may require time and money, it is an excellent way to show you are committed to your profession and willing to stay relevant. Potential employers will pick up on your dedication as well as appreciate your ability to stay on top of market trends.

Learning new skills will allow you to be successful, whether you are looking to switch careers midway or climb up the corporate ladder in your current role. Employers highly value employees or jobseekers who take the initiative and put in the effort to upskill and learn something new. In fact, it is becoming more of a requirement as businesses constantly evolve and adaptability is needed to keep up with current trends.

It is important to conduct some form of research in order to determine the skills you require to enter the labour market and what employers are looking for. One way is to look at current job postings under the qualifications and requirements section. If there is a skill you think is lacking, try to pursue it. You can also look at jobs you are not quite qualified for yet and gain the necessary skills or requirements needed in the meantime.

Another helpful way to gain information is to check out the government website on labour market data. This will allow you to determine who is hiring, where they are hiring, and what are the hiring trends in the industry.

After doing your due diligence by way of research, it is good to assess your skills by using a self-assessment tool. This will help identify current gaps in your skills and what the next plan of action should be. It allows you to examine your essential skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. You can then list out the skills you already possess and which ones you need to acquire to help make an informed decision on your next steps.

Once you become aware of the skills you need, you can opt to pursue a university course or online education. Apply for courses that can help develop a theoretical and practical approach. This will allow you to hone your newfound skill actively hence making the training transition to work a lot easier.

You can volunteer for activities using your newfound skills and serve as a practical way to have hands-on experience. It will also look good on your resume and with employers.

Find a way to promote your recent accomplishments to your employer as this can make all the difference in giving you a leg up in your career. Use the technical terminology, provide examples of your work, and contribute ideas for the overall success of your company. By doing so, it will show that you are ready to make a difference within the organisation with your upgraded skills. Don’t forget to update your cover letter and resume as well as work on your elevator pitch to reflect your new skills.

You can start to seek out mentors or coaches who are able to help you advance your career. They are usually individuals who are experienced, industry leaders, and can offer a unique perspective to help achieve your career goals. Some mentors or coaches who can help you along your journey are perhaps someone in your network, your manager or colleague, and even your teacher are individuals  you can consider. You can also meet coaches and mentors through LinkedIn or Meetup by networking and asking for referrals.

Hopefully, these various ways to upgrade and expand your skills can improve your career prospects in the long run!

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